The US Army has recognised its top ten inventions of 2009 at the 27th Army Science Conference in Florida, US. The theme of this year’s conference was ‘transformational science and technology – enabling full spectrum operation’.

Since 2003, the conference has hosted the Army Greatest Inventions (AGI) awards, initiated by the Army Materiel Command (AMC) to reward the contribution of research labs, which develop game-changing equipment for service personnel.

Candidates are nominated by research and development (R&D) specialists from the army space and missile defense command, the Army corps of engineers, the Army medical research and materiel command, the Army Research Institute and AMC.

Soldiers then assess the candidate technologies, based on their field experience, and decide which inventions to offer the award to. The ten winners of the AGI awards were developed by five different US Army labs.

Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center

40mm M320 grenade launcher: the M320 attaches under the barrel of the rifle or carbine, or can quickly convert to a stand-alone weapon. It features an integral day / night sighting system combined with a hand-held laser rangefinder, which allows for the accurate placement of rounds out to the maximum effective range of fielded ammunition.

Objective weapon elevation kit: this system enables combatants to safely aim for targets higher than themselves at angles of up to 80°, while maintaining a protected posture within the objective gunner protection kit, which is mounted on various combat vehicles.

40mm pivoting coupling: this enables the re-link of ammunition belts and single rounds to give continuous fire from the 40mm MK19 weapon system, eliminating the need to stop and reload.

Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center

Rucksack enhanced portable power system (REPPS): REPPS is a lightweight, man-portable power system that can recharge batteries or provide constant power through a variety of flexible connectors and adaptors. It incorporates solar panels for an additional power source.

Wolfhound handheld threat warning system: this system claims to be the only available handheld frequency threat and direction finding system. It is portable, ruggedised and low-power, and supports both stand-alone and cooperative use.

Counter radio controlled improvised explosive device electronic warfare Duke V3: the Duke V3 system is a field deployable, single unit system, which uses state-of-the-art electronic warfare technology in order to protect vehicles against radio controlled improvised explosive device electronic devices (RCIED).

Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center

Landmine blast field event reconstruction using computational modelling and simulation: the system gathers an extensive range of data from in-theatre under-body blast events and utilizes it to reconstruct explosions in order to enable analysts to bridge the gap between live-fire testing and actual field events.

MRAP overhead wire mitigation kit: the MRAP OWM kit guides overhead wires safely up and over a vehicle, protecting the crew and equipment from electrocution and preventing power, communication and laundry lines from being torn down by military vehicles.

US Army Institute of Surgical Research

Burn fluid resuscitation decision support system: the system was designed specifically to assist medics who do not routinely care for burn patients by using an algorithm to generate recommendations for IV fluid rates. This improves the patient’s fluid balance during the initial 48hr after the burn and helps avoid complications associated with inadequate or excessive resuscitation strategies.

Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center

Upgraded video from unmanned aerial system for interoperability teaming – level 2 (VUIT)-2 for the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter: the upgraded VUIT-2 provides the Apache crew with improved situational awareness and reconnaissance, reporting, and targeting performance. It also improves crew safety and increases the effectiveness of attacks by decreasing sensor-to-shooter timelines.